Category Archives: with trees

Hanging in a pine tree or appearing with plants


Participating in the performance philosophy biennial Intervention – Intoxication in Amsterdam inspires me to write a brief note about my presentation, titled Hanging in a pine tree or appearing with plants. Most of my blog posts these days are written on my Stockholm blog, and in Swedish, related to the project ”Performing with Plants” at Stockholm University of the Arts. And actually my presentation, performance lecture or video essay in Amsterdam today was directly linked to that project as well. But perhaps because I have not participated in any performance philosophy events since the one in Helsinki related to citizenship many years ago, this occasion seems somehow relevant, inspiring and challenging at the same time. And probably partly because I had and article published in the latest issue of Performance Philosophy Journal, Resting with Pines in Nida – attempts at performing with plants, which I am quite proud of, after all. Other reasons for being excited enough to write this, are the inspiring presentations I have witnessed today, and some of them directly linked to my interests, such as Ingrid Vranken’s performance lecture Rooted Hauntology Coworking lab – being with plants/ infiltration and especially Laura Cull’s paper in the panel Thinking with Non-Human Animals & Autistic People: Intervening in Anthropocentrism and Neuronormativity.
 
Originally I proposed a performance lecture, and really tried to device one, based on the video Hanging in a Pine, the longer version (19 min 31 sec), which has the perfect duration to fit the 20 minute slot. But I ended up recording all the spoken parts as a voice over, and leaving the mini-projector, which I planned to use to show a distorted image of the swinging version with, as well as the main performative prop, the rather large pine branch, at home. That was probably the right decision; trying to create a performance would have been clumsy and difficult, because of my lack of experience and the setting too – not even the lights could be shifted between the three parts of the session to make the video more visible, so what with an extra cable for electricity for the projector, huh? Thus, showing a mere video essay was OK. But of course that excludes all possibility of including comments to previous contributions or other adjustments to the context. The two other presentations in the same panel were interesting in their own way, particularly the last one, discussing the use of Latour’s idea of the parliament of things as inspiration for a local theatre project involving the North Sea, although the idea of theatricality and representation where not my main concerns. I would have been more interested in discussing the possibility of and difference between performing and appearing. – The video essay form is somehow fascinating and challenging, something to explore further. I still think that the artwork, the videos, like the actual performances that produce the material for them, must be nonverbal, but the possibilities of the video essay, such as including a text that is not only academic, but contains poetic and imaginative parts, are worth exploring further in the future.

Performing with Plants in 2018 – a Summary


Last year about this time I made of summary of my first year with plants, so it seems reasonable to try the same exercise after my second year with plants. If 2017 was sort of a preliminary year, beginning my project at Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, in 2018 my real project at Stockholm University of the arts began. The artistic research project called Att uppträda/samarbeta med växter or Performing with plants is financed by the Swedish Research Council and lasts only two years, so 2019 will be the time to sum up the project. When I look at what I have done during the year 2018, there are not that many publications or events related to performing with plants. One reason is the fact that I am also the PI of the research project How to do things with performance, which is funded by Academy of Finland, and which has taken quite a lot of my time. In many instances I have been able to combine my interests in these two projects, but I nevertheless try to keep them separate. And besides these two research projects I have had quite a few other commitments. Some of them are now finished, so I have more time to concentrate on my main work.
If I think of special events during the year, one surprise at the end of the year, that I really could not anticipate, was the Finnish state prize for multidisciplinary art 2018 info in Finnish and in Swedish, with photo, here
In the following I list some of the things I have done during the year, both ongoing commitments and ones that ended this year. Then I list publications and performances or events, as well as discussions I have participated in, grouped according to project.
 
Research and other projects in progress
Performing with Plants – Att uppträda/samarbeta med växter. More here and the living archive here
How to do things with performance? – Miten tehdä asioita esityksellä?, a four-year research project funded by the Academy of Finland, with Hanna Järvinen, Tero Nauha and Pilvi Porkola. More info on the website of HTDTWP with links to blog and living archive on the RC.
Professor of performance, art and theory at Stockholm University of the Arts Research Centre (2018-2019), with presentation here and a blog about my activities in Stockholm called, artisticresearchinstockholm
Visiting researcher at Academy of Fine Arts, University of the Arts Helsinki.
Member of the Committee for Artistic Research at the Swedish Research Council.
Member of the editorial team of JAR (Journal for Artistic Research),  and of the editorial board of Ruukku – Studies in artistic research.
Commitments that ended this year:
Member of the board of the Norwegian Artistic Research Program (2015-2018)
Member of the Committee for Public Information in Finland (TJNK) 2015-2018.
Member of the Board for Public Display Grants for Visual Artists 2016-2018.
 
Publications and presentations on performing with plants:
— “Artistic Research as Situated Practice – Performing with Lichen” in José Quaresma (ed.) Investigação em Artes – A necessidade das ideias artísticas / Research in the Arts – The need for artistic ideas, Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa 2018, pp 27-42.
— “Performing with Plants” in Leena Rouhiainen (ed.) Perilous Experience CARPA 5 Colloquium Proceedings, Nivel 09 2018 here
 
Working With the Vegetal II, seminar at Stockholm University of the Arts, Linnégatan 87 on 29.11.2018
“Artistic Research as Situated Practice – Performing with Lichen”, video lecture at the conference and book release Research in the Arts – the need for artistic ideas,  at Museo Arceologico de Carmo, Lissabon 27. 11.2018
“Performing with plants” in the series Frank Professors, Academy of Fine Arts Exhibition Laboratory, 9.10.2018.
Rainy Day in Rekdal, installation and presentation at the symposium Tanz Der Dinge / Things that dance at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, 5-7.10.2018.
Trees in Victoria. Summer exhibition in the old Telegraph on Harakka Island 3.-12.8.2018.
Working with the Vegetal – seminar at Stockholm University of the Arts , see program  23.5 2018
“Puiden kanssa Helsingin puistoissa” [With Trees in the Parks of Helsinki], presentation at the Finnish Urban Studies Conference, Tieteiden talo [House of Sciences], Helsinki 3-4.5.2018
Video and presentation at Radical Relevances conference, Aalto University 25-27.4. 2018.
Installation of “Rainy Day in Rekdal” and “Grey Day in Rekdal” at the Learning Center of Aalto University during the conference Radical Relevances 25-27.4.2018
Presentation at the open seminar of Research in Arts and Experience at Aalto University 26 .3.2018.
 
Publications and presentations with the project How to do things with performance:
— Annette Arlander, Hanna Järvinen, Tero Nauha and Pilvi Porkola “Miten tehdä asioita esityksellä – tutkimushanke Sao Paulossa” [How to do Things with Performance – the research project in Sao Paulo] in Anna Thuring, Anu Koskinen and Tuija Kokkonen (eds.) Esitys ja Toiseus, Näyttämö ja Tutkimus 7, Teats Teatterintutkimuksen seura 2018, pp 204-214. See here
— Annette Arlander, Hanna Järvinen, Tero Nauha and Pilvi Porkola “Regurgitated Perspectives – Performance”. In Geoff Cox, Hannah Drayson, Azadeh Fatehrad, Allister Gall, Laura Hopes, Anya Lewin, Andrew Prior, (eds.) Proceedings of the 9th SAR International Conference on Artistic Research, University of Plymouth, April 11th-13th, 2018, pp. 299-311. See here
— Annette Arlander, Hanna Järvinen, Tero Nauha & Pilvi Porkola “How to do things with performance in relation to what is given?”. In Ruukku Journal issue 8 (voices) 2018. See here
— Arlander, A. (2018). The Shore Revisited. Journal of Embodied Research, 1(1), 4 (30:34). DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/jer.8
 
“Let’s talk about performance! IV” Conversations on performance art with professors Gavin Butt and Tero Nauha at Huuto gallery, see information, on 17.11. 2018.
“Revisiting the Rock”, presentation at Research Day III: Performance Pedagogy  at University of the Arts Theatre Academy, see cfp and programme here, on 16.11. 2018.
“How to do things with performance in alliance with things, concepts, bodies or plants?”, performance with HTDTWP (How to Do Things With Performance) at the conference Alliances and Commonalities,  Stockholm University of the Arts, see here, 25-27.10. 2018.
“Let’s talk about performance! III” Conversation on performance art with Tomasz Szrama at Muu gallery, see here, 1.10.2018.
Presentation in the panel “Migrating concepts in performance” with How to do things with performance? at IFTR (International Federation for Theatre Research) conference Theatre and Migration in Belgrad  (see program) 19-23.7 2018.
”Revisiting the City Skyline”, presentation in the panel “Networking Finland, Malta, Korea” – a performative panel across time and space with How to do things with performance? at PSi (Performance Studies International) #24 in Daegu, Chorea 3-6.7. 2018.
“Authorship, Agency and Performing – in Finnish” in the panel “What is Performativity in Finnish?” with How to Do Things With Performance -project at Cultural Mobility of Performance and Performativity Studies International Conference, Kraków 28-30.5. 2018.
“Regurgitated perspectives – an excerpt” with HTDTWP at The Spring Research Day at Kiasma, 25.4. 2018.
”Puhetta performanssista” – Conversations on performance art II, with Essi Kausalainen and Sara Pathirane at Muu gallery, see here , 23.4.2018.
Performance “Regurgitated Perspectives” together with How to do things with performance? at the 9th SAR conference – International Conference on Artistic Research Artistic Research will Eat Itself at University of Plymouth 11-13.4. 2018.
Presentation at the research day organised by How to do things with performance? -project at University of the Arts Helsinki Theatre Academy, here, 2.3. 2018.
“Puhetta performanssista” – Conversations on Performance art at Muu gallery, hosted by Annette Arlander. First Guest: artist and curator Leena Kela, and her project One Year Performance, see here, on 26.2.2018.
 
Other publications and presentations:
— “Process as Performance or Variations of Swinging”. In Hetty Blades & Emma Meehan (eds.) Performing Process: Sharing Dance and Choreographic Practice. Intellect Books. 2018, 99-118.
— “Day and Night with Malla” In Screenworks 8.2 On Digital Ecologies and the Anthropocene
— “Dune Dream – Self-imaging, Trans-corporeality and the Environment”. Body, Space & Technology. 17(1), 2018,3–21.
— “Performing with the Weather” in Global Performance Studies Issue 1.2. Performance Climates
— “Agential Cuts and Performance as Research”. In Annette Arlander, Bruce Barton, Melanie Dreyer-Lude, Ben Spatz (eds.) Performance as Research: Knowledge, Methods, Impact. London and New York: Routledge 2018, 133-151.
— “Introduction to Future Concerns. The Multiple Futures of Performance as Research.” In Annette Arlander, Bruce Barton, Melanie Dreyer-Lude, Ben Spatz (eds.) Performance as Research: Knowledge, Methods, Impact. London And New York: Routledge 2018, 333-349.
 
Participating in a panel at the seminar Music in Disorder – Counterplay, Complexity and Collective Improvisation at Royal College of Music in Stockholm, see http://musicindisorder.se 30.11.2018.
Participating in the panel discussion ”Artistic research as basic research” at the Symposium organised by the Committee for Artistic Research at the Swedish Research Council in Piteå 15.11.2018
Member of the examining committee for PhD Tindra Thor Painting the City: Performative Cosmopolitanism and the Politics of Space and Art. Stockholm University, Department of Media Studies 8.6.2018
Library talk with Stacey Sacks at SADA Library, Stockholm University of the Arts 24.4.2018.
“Generations of Artistic Research”, discussion at University of the Arts Helsinki Centre for Artistic Research, see here 1.3.2018.
Opponent at Marja Silde’s doctoral dissertation in theatre- and performance studies Poseeraamisia ja itsensä ylittämisiä. Habituksen esteettinen muokkaaminen 1980-luvun Helsingin kaupunkikulttuurin murroksessa [Posings and overcomings of the self. The aesthetic preparation of the habitus in the changing urban culture of 1980’s Helsinki] at Helsinki University 27.1.2018.
Moderating the Norwegian Artistic Research Program Fellowship seminar #2 ”Unfold and articulate” at University of Bergen, Faculty of Art and Design, see programme 10-11.1.2018.

 
 
 
 
 
 

With a Ficus Tree to End the Year


During my Christmas Holiday I usually try to spend some time with local trees or shrubs. This year I would have liked to perform with the controversial Vinagrera plant (Rumex lunaria) that is invading the bare volcanic slopes with its sparkling lime colors. But to return to the volcano slopes with a camera was too much of a dazzle, at least for now. Instead I made two small sketches with my phone, in places that I simply happened to feel like recording. One was a concrete cube on the path along the shore between Puerto del Carmen and Puerto Calero. It reminded me of a work I did in 2003-2004 on Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. The only version available anywhere is an installation called Crystal Ball, the other ones exist as DVD copies in my bookshelf. Anyway, later I found many others of these concrete blocks on the shores, but sat down only on this first one I noticed:

 


On an afternoon in Playa Blanca, another beach resort, I walked over the slopes and had the impulse to sit on a rock with some small grasses in the desert in the evening sun:

 


But these were only notes, or souvenirs, even though I edited them and uploaded on the RC, here. I wanted to sit in a tree, and decided to choose a small crooked tree growing between the roads on my daily morning walk route, if I could not find anything else. But then I saw some huge Ficus trees at the outskirts of Puerto caller from the bus window, and decided to visit them. And yes, I found a lovely tree partner to sit with, on or in. The day was very windy, so the images look rather funny, especially with the sound of the passing cars, as if I was traveling at high-speed. Besides this “racing-version” I edited one called testing, and another one called looking, where I tried to move the camera along the beautiful branches, as a try out. The video are uploaded on the RC here.

 




The real question remains: what next? I want to spend time with trees, yes, but how to make it more interesting to look at and somehow relevant intellectually?

 

Helsinki Tree Calendar


Finally, at the end of year 2018 I managed to edit a final screening version of the Helsinki tree calendar performed and recorded in 2017, partly spurred by my wish to finish the Stockholm Tree Calendar by the end of the year, summarized in Swedish here. The Helsinki Tree Calendar was something I began on impuls, trying to connect my old (still on-going) project of talking trees with the then new project Performing with Plants. I made several versions of some of the trees, and had serious trouble in finding some of the so-called trees in the Celtic tree calendar, like the ivy, in Helsinki, so I made some adaptations. Here comes a list of the versions I chose for the screening compilation and the installation version, as they are actually meant to be shown as a calendar, one at a time, with duration and day of recording added:
 
The birch 24 December – 20 January:
Birch in January 4 min 41 sek. (Munkkiniemenranta 21.1.2017)
 
The rowan 21 January – 17 February:
Rowan in February 4 min 43 sek. (Särkiniemi 11.2.2017)
 
The ash 18 February – 17 March:
Ash in February 5 min 48 sek. (Kaivopuisto 18.3.2017)
 
The alder 18 March – 14 April:
Alder in April 12 min 40 sek. (Mellstenin ranta 11.4.2017)
 
The willow 15 April – 12 May:
Willow in May 9 min 44 sek. (Harakka Island 6.5.2017)
 
The hawthorn 13 May – 9 June:
Hawthorn in June 18 min 6 sek. (Observatory Park 7.6.2017)
 
The oak 10 June – 7 July:
Oak in June 8 min 10 sek. (Eugen Schauman’s Park 26.6.2017)
 
The holly 8 July – 4 August:
Holly in July 9 min 22 sek. (Kaisaniemi Botanical Garden 30.7.2017)
 
The hazel 5 August – 1 September:
Hazel in August 9 min 35 sek. (Herttoniemi Manor Park 20.8.2017)
 
The vine 2 September – 29 September:
Vine in September 5 min 15 sek. (yard in Ullanlinna 16.9.2017)
 
The ivy 30 September – 27 October:
Ivy in October 8 min 23 sek. (at home 1.11.2017)
 
The reed 28 October – 23 November:
Reed in November 8 min 22 sek. (Arabianranta 22.11.2017)
 
The elder 24 November – 23 December:
Elder in December 13 min 38 sek. (Kaivopuisto 2.12.2017)
 
The screening version is a compilation of 1 min.20 sec. of the beginning of each chosen tree, Helsinki Tree Calendar 17 min.42 sec. in all. The installation version, Helsinki Tree Calendar – Installation, consists of 4 min. 40 sec. of the beginning of each chosen tree, ideally to be shown in thirteen monitors, all synchronized.
 
 

The Planetary Garden


The title of this years’ Manifesta, the European Nomadic Biennial, which changes host city every time, Manifesta 12 Palermo, is The Planetary Garden. Cultivating Coexistence. That is so directly connected to my research topic, performing with plants, that I simply had to go and see it, especially when I noticed that the garden was not only understood on a metaphoric level. One of the main venues, L’Orto Botanico, is the Botanical Garden founded in 1789. And of course the city of Palermo was seducing as well. I visited the place during Christmas 1975 and have very few memories of it, being stranded there, on my way to Tunis. I was very yong, trying to get away from Christmas celebrations and landing in the midst of the very Catholic city. I remember marveling at the amount nativity displays, which I had not seen before, and the huge bundles of Poinsettia branches, the red flowers that we had in pots and called Christmas stars. I spent Christmas Eve alone in a class z pension, burning a candle and eating dried figs, that is about all I can remember. It was about time to make acquaintance with the city, so now I spent three full days there, running around in all the rundown or abandoned palazzi that served as the venues for Manifesta, and really enjoyed the city.
The curatorial concept was divided into three strands: Garden of Flows, which “explores toxicity, plant life and culture of gardening in relation to the global commons”, Out of Control Room, which sees Palermo as “the ideal stage on which to test what space is now left for individual or collective, human or non-human political agencies”, and City on Stage, with Teatro Garibaldi as a place “to come together, start conversations, explore exhibitions and participate in live events open to the public”. Well, I did not have the chance to see any live events, only videos documenting some of them, nor did I make trips to the sites in the suburbs where some collaborations had taken place. There was plenty to see within walking distance. Many works hinted at the theme of garden, by including or referring to plants in some manner. Two works, however, I would like especially to remember.
First of all the disturbing installation by Lungiswa Gqunta “Lituation – The Gardner’s Revenge”, a mixture of litter, glass bottles, petrol, papaya trees and more, a creepy replica of what many urban gardens actually look like. According the program, in the words of the artist, I suppose: “This garden is a contested landscape, one we water with liquid that will ignite the masses because the revolution is lit”.
 

 

 
Another work that was disturbing in a different way, trying to be useful, experimenting with the idea of cultivation in collaboration with scientists and local food establishments, was called “What is Above is What is Below”, by Cooking Sections, a group founded in London 2013 consisting of Alon Schwabe and Daniel Fernández Pascual. I bumped into one part of the work in the form of citrus trees in the small Giardino Dei Gusti covered with yellow gauze, in an experiment to “water without water”. By the ruined Chiesa di S. Maria Dello Spasimo there was a related experiment with citrus trees enclosed by circular brick walls, a contemporary interpretation of the traditional mode of planting a tree in an enclosed yard.
 

 

 

 

 
More about the program and these works can be found at the manifesta 12 website.
 

“Trees in Victoria” on Harakka Island


The exhibition "Trees in Victoria" was opened yesterday at the Telegraph on Harakka Island and will continue 3.-12.8. 2018. It includes two video-installations (as split-screen videos) Trees in Victoria (Apollo Bay) 14 min 30 sec., and Trees in Victoria (Lorne), 13 min 40 sec., both of them recorded in respective locations, Apollo Bay och Lorne, in Victoria in southern Australia during a week after the PSi#22 conference in Melbourne in July 2016 and then edited during 2017.
There is a blog post from the trip to Victoria, here
Both works are also available on the Research Catalogue as small files, here
The exhibition will go on for a week only, and it is open from Tuesday to Sunday noon to 6 pm. I will sit as a gallery guard – that is my holiday this year…
 


 
 
 

In the Lantern Tree in Belgrade


After the very big and quite successful World Congress of the IFTR (International Federation for Theatre Research) in Belgrade, Serbia, (the program is available here and the book of abstracts here) and the executive committee meeting after it, I had an afternoon to spend on my own. With my camera and tripod and the same yellow outfit I wore in Daegu, I headed directly to the park next to the Museum of Contemporary Art where we had a big party on Thursday night. I remembered seeing a small tree suitable to sit in at the border of the large lawn outside the museum on the other side of river Sava, and there it was, right next to the parking lot. The tree was one of many of its kind, a species quite unknown to me. The taller trees on the shore were some sort of poplars, but these small trees covered with puffy pepper-looking fruits I had never seen before. There were quite a few of them; all the smaller, yellowish trees in these images are of the same kind, although only one of them had a trunk with a place to sit in.
 


After my session, on returning from the park I asked the reception sit in the hotel, googled trees in Belgrade and so on, to no avail. Finally I found an image of something similar, albeit reddish, by looking for dried flowers in Finnish and that way I came to a whole group of plants and trees called lantern trees. There are several types, The Chilean Lantern tree, the Chinese Lantern tree, a creeper of the family Solanaceae related to the tomato and the potato and so on. Most lantern trees have colorful fruits, and these were yellowish-green, but perhaps they will turn read later in the summer. And although I did not think of it at first, these trees probably had flowers earlier this summer. To put it simply: plants change their appearance over the year! And that should not come as a surprise to me, living in the north. Nevertheless I was not sure exactly what this specific tree is called, so I decided to call it a lantern tree.
 

 
The video will be uploaded on the RC here The video still is from the beginning of the 15 minute session, when the sun was burning bright, but very soon there were some clouds covering it providing a relaxing shade. Since I was not there, behind the camera to adjust the light, most of the video is rather dull and dark. Despite the image of the tree being framed as rather wide to include more of the tree, its foliage is nevertheless not included. Some snapshots of the tree and its fruits taken after the session will give a better idea of what kind of tree it is:
 

 
 
 

In Dalseong Park, Daegu


After attending the PSi #24 conference in Daegu, Korea, I had one day, or morning, to spend in Daegu before heading back to Seoul and Helsinki. Pilvi Porkola from the project How to do things with performance, with whom we made a presentation, returned home with her son a day earlier. My plan was to take a walk to Dalseong Park to see if I could find a suitable tree to sit in for a while, and I asked a colleague from the conference who stayed in the guesthouse, Megan Evans, if she would be interested in visiting the park and looking after the camera behind my back while I was sitting in the tree. And she agreed, so in relatively fresh and sunny weather we walked there and followed path around the park up on the ancient fortifications. It was actually Megan who noticed a possible tree, which I had not noticed and I immediately agreed, because most of the trees were either to old and tall or too young. At first I thought this tree might be too young as well, that is, too weak to carry my weight, but on closer examination it proved quite strong. I had my pale pink woollen scarf with me, but for some reason the yellow clothing I happened to wear seemed more appropriate for the circumstances. Megan would sit on the nearby bench, keep an eye on the camera and perhaps restart it, if for some reason it would stop unexpectedly, as it sometimes does. But this time all went well, and I sat approximately eleven minutes, listening to the birds, the traffic and the amused passersby. At the guesthouse I downloaded the images from the camera and on the train to Seoul I edited the material into a one-image video ”In Dalseong Park” (11 min), which is available on the RC: ”In Dalseong Park”. I named the video thus because I did not recognize the tree. It had some small berries, like miniature cherries, but looked otherwise unfamiliar. It would be very difficult to get its species verified, so I decided to accept that it was a stranger, albeit a rather friendly one. Here below are some stills from the beginning and  end of the naterial, where I try to get up in the tree and then to get down again. The larger image in the middle is what the actual video looks like – a bit too dark, really. The park was nice in any case.

 




 

This image, taken by Megan Evans as a still with her phone, is actually quite nicely framed:
 

 
 
 

With an Elder in Krakow


A small conference on Cultural Mobility of Performance and Performativity Studies organised in the beautiful old building of the Jagellonian University brought me to Krakow together with the HTDTWP group, that is, the How to do things with performance research project. I did carry my camera, tripod, pink scarf and black trousers with me, with the plan to spend the last day finding a suitable tree. After the conference I felt exhausted and joined Pilvi Porkola and Hanna Järvinen on a walk to the Kantor Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art, both located other side of the river. And I decided I would NOT carry my equipment with me, ”just in case”. When we were returning to the hotel through the park and passed an elder tree with a low bending trunk that we had passed the day before, I asked Pilvi to take a snapshot of me sitting in the tree. What was meant as a simple souvenir to begin with, nevertheless turned into a small performance recorded on video, with my phone. The transformation from snapshot to ”serious” image making can be seen in the sequence of images, below. What was remarkable, from my perspective, was not so much to have other people with me, nor missing my costume, perhaps not even the use of a simple phone camera, but the idea that somebody else was holding the camera and framing the image. Suddenly I became a performer, a model or an actress for somebody else, even though I suggested that Pilvi might take an ”arlander-style” image from the back side. Later I edited a short video by reversing the order of the three video clips, With and Elder in Krakow (2 min. 6 sec), and uploaded it on the Research Catalogue, here.
Afterwards I thought about it, and realized, this could be one way to develop my practice of sitting in, on or with trees to be something more sociable: to invite people to use the camera, rather than to pose for it, as I have previously tried to do in the swinging together images. Hm. I have to think about that…
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Spending time with the Tabaiba – and with the Cardón


After reading a nice little book by Jeffrey T. Nealon, Plant Theory – Biopower and Vegetable Life (2016), which consists of a preface, four chapters (on Foucault, Aristotle & Heidegger, Derrida, Deleuze & Guattari and their ideas on vegetation), and a coda What difference does it make? I decided it was time to get out for a change. On the last day of March I followed a walking path on the slopes of the hills east of Puerto Rico on Gran Canaria in order to find some shrubs to sit with. And there were indeed plenty of them. At the bottom of the small valley, where the path crossed something that at some point might have been the bed of a brook I could get off the path, both above and beneath it, and made some attempts at performing for camera. The first image, above the path, is nice as a view, but there I placed myself much too close to the camera and become the main focus of attention:
 

 
The second attempt, below the path, is more interesting, because the shrubs are bigger and the branches produce interesting shadows. They are actually two different shrubs, a Tabaiba on the left and a Balo further down on the right, as I later learned:
 

 
The third image is perhaps the most fascinating, partly because the Euphorbia or Cardón as they are called here are so peculiar, partly because I managed to place myself more subtly with the plants:
 

 
These three images were my first attempts this Easter, oddly yellow in tone. I hope there will be more.
And there was to be more, for sure. On Sunday 1 April I made a new trip to the valley. First I sat with some flowering Tabaibas:
 

 

 
And on the way back I saw a Balo next to a rock providing some inviting shade, in a romantic image I had seen in so many fairy tale illustrations that I simply had to enter it. But too tired I miscalculated the distance, placing the camera much too close:
 

 
On Monday 2 April I made a third trip, with the aim of finding some Cardóns, which I remember grew higher up in the valley. And there were plenty of them. But first I sat with a Balo:
 

 
The Cardóns are quite amazing when watched closely, parts of them really old and withered, and then some parts growing new shoots directly from their fleshy but spiky trunks. They are not really inviting, but more evoking respect, I would say, hard to make acquaintance with but with a strong character:
 

 

 

 
Walking down the riverbed I decided I might make one more trip tomorrow to sit with some of the Balos I passed on the way. And in the park on the way back I posed on a bench under a Mimosa tree in order to remind myself to enjoy the places purposely made for humans, too, instead of always insisting on making everything so tiresome and exhausting and unnecessarily complicated: